Nikki Haley is resigning as USA ambassador to the United Nations.
Days after Trump's comments drew pointed criticism from Republicans and Democrats alike, Haley said publicly that she "had a personal conversation with the president about Charlottesville, and I will leave it at that" - remarks that most interpreted as her criticizing the president.
"No I'm not running in 2020", she told reporters, and followed up that she would campaign for Mr Trump.
Before she was named by Trump to her United Nations post, Haley was governor of SC, the first woman to hold the post.
Instead of answering directly, he recounted how she has had to work on tough issues, such as Iran and North Korea.
Though her work at the United Nations largely reflected Trump policy, she eked out some distance from the White House.
"Look at the two years, look at what has happened in two years with the United States on foreign policy". When the sanctions never materialized, White House officials said the plans had changed without Haley being briefed, and economic adviser Larry Kudlow suggested she was confused.
On the timing of the announcement, CNN's chief White House correspondent Jim Ascosta reported that Ms Haley was concerned about resigning after the mid-term elections, but also didn't want to step aside during Brett Kavanaugh's Supreme Court confirmation process.
Haley was confirmed as U.N. Ambassador four days after Trump was inaugurated in January 2017.
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Nikki Haley, the former popular governor of SC, always seemed like a unusual fit for the Trump administration.
As one of the top foreign policy officials in the U.S. administration, she also was at the forefront of the effort to move the U.S. Embassy in Israel from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem.
Also last month, she publicly accused Russian Federation of cheating on United Nations sanctions imposed on North Korea: "Its violations are not one-offs".
The news caught congressional Republicans, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and National Security Adviser John Bolton off guard, and some key USA allies did not get advance word from Haley or the White House.
Trump said he was considering many candidates for Haley's job and that a successor would be named in two to three weeks - or maybe sooner. U.S. Ambassador to the Germany Richard Grenell's name has also been floated for the post, according to an administration official.
Haley has two children to put through college and the potential to make much more money in the business world. Trump tweeted that "The people of SC are embarrassed by Nikki Haley". She reported owing between $500,000 and $1 million on financial disclosures filed as part of her nomination to be USA ambassador to the United Nations.
She outlasted Trump's first secretary of state, Rex Tillerson, who, unlike Haley, generated friction with Trump: on substance, on style, on mannerisms, and other matters.
In May, she called Russia's 2014 annexation of Ukraine's Crimean Peninsula "a textbook example of the direct violation of the sovereignty of one member state by another member state".
As governor, she developed a national reputation as a racial conciliator who led the charge to bring down the Confederate flag at the Statehouse and guided SC through one of its darkest moments, the massacre at a black church.